The United States on Thursday cancelled the meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, citing hostility. The two leaders were to meet in Singapore on June 12.
This development came just hours after North Korea announced that it had dismantled its nuclear bomb test site in Punngye-ri.
Trump, in a letter to Kim, said that he had been looking forward to the meeting, but the “tremendous anger and open hostility” in North Korea’s latest statement meant it was “inappropriate” to hold the meeting at this point in time. On Tuesday, Trump had said there was a “substantial chance” that the summit might be delayed.
North Korea’s “most recent statement” could be a reference to the country’s criticism of United States Vice President Mike Pence comment that Pyongyang could end up like Libya if it fails to make a nuclear deal with Washington. Choe Son Hui, a vice minister in the North Korean Foreign Ministry, said Pence’s comments were ignorant, and warned the US that she would recommend that her country’s leadership reconsider the planned summit between Trump and Kim if it kept up this rhetoric.
Earlier this month, North Korea had threatened to cancel the summit in protest against the US conducting a joint military exercise with South Korea. Tensions between the US and North Korea escalated in 2017 after Pyongyang stepped up efforts to boost its nuclear weapons programme. The summit in Singapore was aimed at the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.
“You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used,” Trump said in his letter. “I felt a wonderful dialogue was building up between you and me, and ultimately, it is only dialogue that matters. Some day, I look very much forward to meeting you.”
The US president also thanked Kim for releasing three Americans arrested by North Korea.